The Art of Memoir
by Mary Karr
HarperCollins, 2015. 229 pgs. Nonfiction
Award-winning memoirist Mary Karr knows whereof she speaks in this book about how to successfully tell one's own story. But the examples she uses and the advice she gives go well beyond getting the facts down on the page in chronological order. Quoting generously from masters of the genre, her close analysis of passages from Michael Herr's "Dispatches," Maxine Hong Kingston's "The Woman Warrior," and many others explain to her readers how to show instead of tell, and how to get the courage to tell as best anyone may, the truth of a life. "The Art of Memoir" is a fascinating story about stories. Karr's is a funny, precise, occasionally profane voice, and her piercing intelligence lays bare the things we need to tell about ourselves and the ways we need to do it.